Bonnie L. Firestein, Ph.D.
Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Principal Investigator
Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Dr. Firestein earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego under the guidance of Paul A. Insel, M.D. She performed her postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco with David S. Bredt, M.D., Ph.D. and established her independent laboratory at Rutgers University in 2000. She was primary advisor to 7 Masters students, 21 Ph.D. students, 14 Postdoctoral Associates, and over 70 undergraduate students. All of her trainees have successful careers in academia, industry, and the medical profession. She has been elected as a Fellow to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a Fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her research interests are neurodevelopment, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, schizophrenia. She is an avid Crossfitter and loves beagles and dachshunds. To learn more about her research, you can view her publications here.
Laboratory Researcher II
Min Yang, M.S.
Min earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology from Shanghai Ocean University and his Master’s Degree in Medical Genetics from Indiana University. Prior to joining the Firestein laboratory, he worked with our collaborator, Dr. Amrik Sahota, where he worked on mouse models for purine-related disorders and cystinuria and kidney disease. Min’s work focuses on the role of guanine metabolism in gout, TBI, and neurodegeneration.
Dr. Srinivasa Gandu
Srinivasa is a Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biosciences (Cell and Developmental Biology track) Graduate Program. He earned a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, India and an M.S. in Pharmacology/ Toxicology from Long Island University. Prior to enrolling in the Ph.D. program, Srinivasa was a Research Technician in the Chiosis laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Srinivasa is a recipient of a Molecular Biosciences Excellence Award and Excellence Fellowship and subsequently was awarded a New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research Predoctoral Fellowship. His thesis project focuses on understanding the proteasome-mediated degradation pathway in neurons and how this pathway is influenced by cypin (cytosolic PSD-95 interactor).
Christen is a Ph.D. student in the Neurosciences Graduate Program. She earned her B.S. in Neural Science with minors in American Sign Language and Psychology from New York University. After graduating, she worked as a Research Technician in the Carew Lab and as a Laboratory Manager in the Suzuki Lab at NYU. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, Christen worked as a Chemical Laboratory Technician at BASF Corporation. She was awarded a position on the Rutgers NIH Biotechnology Training grant. Her thesis project focuses on biomarkers and sex-specific effects of antipsychotics in patients with schizophrenia.
Keith is a Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biosciences (Biochemistry track) Graduate Program. He earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from Montclair State University. After graduation, he worked with Dr. Carlos Molina at Montclair State as a technician and worked on crystallization of WbDHFR. He has experience studying Inducible cAMP Early Repressor proteasomal degradation, DNA binding, and reintegration into melanoma cells and in p53 deficient zebrafish. He is using both in silico modeling techniques and biochemistry to study the binding of activators and inhibitors of cypin. His work includes rational drug design.
Shradha is a student in the Neurosciences Graduate Program. She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Rutgers University. As an undergraduate student, she worked in the Shoane Laboratory where she was part of a team that developed a mobile application for testing the effect of vibration feedback on putting performance. As a Masters student, Shradha worked in the Ito Laboratory where her research focuses on treatments for multiple sclerosis. Shradha is interested in using non-invasive treatments for patients with traumatic brain injury. She will use modified viral vectors in rodent models.
Brandon is a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering at SUNY-Binghampton. As an undergraduate student in Dr. Koh’s lab, Brandon focused on creating an electrochemical method to improve the performance of printed carbon electrodes. As an M.S. student, Brandon designed an on-body iontophoretic glucose biosensor. His work included using use AutoCAD to create his own biosensor design. Brandon is interested in neural engineering and will use MEA technology to understand how neural circuits are shaped and can be repaired after injury.
Kaavya is a Masters student in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program. She earned her Bachelor of Technology in Industrial Biotechnology from ANNA University in Chennai, India. Kaavya is interested in developing biomaterials to help treat neuropathic pain induced by spinal cord injury.
Dylan is a Ph.D. student in the Cell and Developmental Biology Program. He earned a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University. As an undergraduate student, he worked with Gary Aston-Jones and Kasia Bieszczad to write custom MATLAB scripts to analyze electrophysiological data to reveal long-term drug-dependent plasticity that may alter sensory experience at the brainstem level. Dylan is working to understand how injury and disease alter neural networks and how localized changes to signaling molecules as dendrites develop. He will use advanced imaging techniques, including FRET and FLIM.